First … NOT THE CLUBHOUSE. It takes a surprisingly long time to take apart a structure … even when Mother Nature helped with the process. It was last Sunday night when the Chicken Palace got swept away by the wind. We looked up Monday morning and saw the weather forecast predicted the first big snow within the week! Ack!
I sat down pronto and drew up some plans and cost estimates. We were going to have to work dawn to dusk if we hoped to put a new hangout in place before that snow. We were saved by our good friend and neighbour, Charles, who is a carpenter and roofer. He dropped by when he saw what had happened and managed to squeeze us into his already very busy week. Ede and I handled the demolition and Charles gave us tips as to where to start anew.
By the end of the day on Thursday the skeleton was up and the roof was on.
On Saturday Charles created two doors out of found wood. Then he and I framed in the windows and the doorways. The Clubhouse has two people sized doors. One you enter from the paddock side – the other from the backyard side.
Finally we have a way for Edie to get into the chicken area without having to crouch down and step over and through an awkward gate. She can also get in and out without having to deek past the goats. Both doors are on the same wall. The fence for the ‘Chicken Highway’ meets the Clubhouse between them.
You can see them both on that wall here. I set to installing the wire panels to predator proof the Clubhouse while Charles began shingling the roof.
The roof slopes down from the pre-existing Bully Barn. That is the jenny’s run in (for their hay feeders) and their sleeping room (a deep bed of wood chips).
Rosie cannot believe that those chicken gals are getting such a fabulous room – just for daytime playdates!
So the lay of the land now looks like this …
The Coop is the building with all the windows. The south side has hay bales lined up against the wall. On sunny days the flock loves to hang out there – out of the wind – out of sight – soaking up the rays. We have started to call this little walkway the ‘Chicken Highway’. At night the gates on either end are opened up so Rosie and Bella can walk through and around the Coop. Their job is to keep an eye out for any unwanted guests. Although … Rosie will swear she is there to clean up any leftover peanuts or chicken feed. 😉
The Coop’s large door opens up to face the door on the Clubhouse. For the winter it will be fine to use these large doors – and to keep them open during the daytime. Come the spring though … the blackbirds will return and we’ll have to resort to curtained pop doors to keep them at bay.
For those two pictures above you are standing on the hay trail between the two. On the left you are facing the Clubhouse. On the right the Coop.
On Sunday afternoon (just yesterday!) I was cutting panels of tarping to enclose the Clubhouse for the winter. As I put the last one in place the snow started in earnest. I then started ferrying the straw bales (rescued from the ruins of the Palace) to stack them in place. They are tucked in tight on both the outside and the inside to help keep things cozy come January and February.
Could not have timed it any better. Here was the same scene this morning! We made it! Phew! Look Heidi – those windows you gave us? The Clubhouse was built knowing we had them to use. The chickens LOVE it. They were perched on the hay bales on the inside soaking up a little sunshine.
Although … it DID take some convincing this morning to get the newbies to leave the Coop to brave the hay covered pathway I made them through the snow.
The Clubhouse is spacious, and bright. The floor has a deep sandy dirt layer just under straw and leaves. Great for dust bathing and scratching for goodies.
Today we picked up some Christmas lights to keep things colourful and cheery during these next dark winter months.
The Frizzle sisters say it ‘fits the bill’!
And the Chief Engineer gives it a thumbs up for easy access!
Cheers for the Clubhouse!